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Latinos/as are Catholics. They are also Protestants, Evangelicals, and Pentecostals. They bend their knees before Obatalá, Changó, and Oggún, orishas (African quasi-deities) from the religion known as Santería. Others proclaim a faith in one of the other major world religions (i.e., Judaism or Islam). In times of illness, some rely on the ancestral Amerindian religious traditions like curanderismo, whereas others found solace in the U.S.-based faiths of Mormonism or Jehovah Witnesses. Still, others are simply atheists. Hispanics are not a monolithic group, nor do they worship in a monolithic fashion. Contrary to popular stereotypes, all Latina/os are not Catholics. Although Hispanics are not monolithic, their faiths and beliefs, or lack thereof, do play an important role in understanding their overall identity. For this reason, a book such as this would be incomplete if it failed to examine the religiosity of the Hispanic community. To seriously consider the religiosity of any group of people, in our case Latina/os, is to contradict Durkheim’s sociological, Freud’s psychological, or Marx’s economic functionalism, each of which insisted that societal structures powerfully determine religious beliefs. As historian and philosopher of religion Mircea Eliade reminds us, the faith of a people, as the irreducible sacred, resists being reduced to an effervescence of the so-called underlying social reality. Instead, the reverse is claimed: Religion can shape society; it is not simply a dependent variable of other forces. Eliade asserted that society, psychology, or economics affects religion, but their influences are neither dominant nor determining (1963, p. xii). For this reason, this volume dedicates a chapter to the religiosity of Hispanics. Specifically, this chapter will explore the different faith traditions among Latinos/as and the impact they have on their community.

Keywords

Jewish Community Religious Tradition Dominant Culture Faith Community Faith Tradition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel A. De La Torre

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